We love it when a radio show makes the news, even if it is off our continent. But it is actually very close to home, as well. Faculty from the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University were interviewed on BBC Radio Wales about their participation in an international exchange between coal mining regions of South Wales and Central Appalachia. The interview with Tom Hansell and Dr. Patricia Beaver will play on the BBC Radio Wales website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b02xbrkc) between 1 and 3 p.m. EST this afternoon. The episode will be available online until June 29.
Hansell and Beaver have created a documentary and community engagement project titled After Coal: Welsh and Appalachian Mining Communities. They were invited into the BBC Radio Wales studios by Frank Hennessy, host of the Celtic Heartbeat program. They appear on a segment of his show comparing coal mining music from the Appalachian coalfields to the coalfields of South Wales.
After Coal: Welsh and Appalachian Mining Communities is a television documentary and radio series that explores how two mining cultures are facing the challenge of their dependence on fossil fuels. The project explores questions of sustainability, including: What happens when fossil fuels run out? How do resource rich regions transition from their historic dependence on fossil fuels? And, how can lessons from these areas speak to other resource dependent regions throughout the globe?
The social, economic and environmental challenges to Wales and Appalachia in recent decades are at times tragically similar. The coalfields throughout the UK were shut down in the 1980s, eliminating more than 85,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the Appalachian coalfields lost over 70,000 mining jobs between 1980 and 2000 according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and employment continues to decline. For more than a quarter century Wales has experimented with cultural, economic and environmental strategies to rebuild communities. After Coal reflects on what the Welsh experience after coal means for Appalachian communities that are facing their last generation of mining.
The After Coal project is sponsored by the Center for Appalachian Studies and has received funding from the Board of Trustees Travel Grant, The Chorus Foundation, The Office of International Education and Development, and the West Virginia Humanities Council.
- Written by Steve Frank